The gubernatorial election is less than three weeks away and the pressure is mounting within several key races, including the fight for the 5th Congressional District between political newcomer and Democrat Jahana Hayes and former Meriden mayor and Republican Manny Santos.
Waterbury election officials are expecting more than a 60 percent voter turnout, which would be on par with the 2008 presidential election. They believe Hayes, who is from the Brass City, has inspired people to register. They have seen more than 900 new voters since she won the August primary.
“It’s created a great deal of enthusiasm among a lot of the citizens in Waterbury and so we’re preparing for a much larger turnout in November than we would be it just a regular governor’s race,” explained Timothy De Carlo, an election official with the Waterbury Registrar of Voters.
Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, will face off with Republican Manny Santos, who is from Meriden, where the Registrar says it has ordered about 22,000 ballots for Election Day. Election officials said they have close to 600 new registered voters since September 1.
“We have some increase in voter registrations, but I wouldn’t say it’s an enormous increase,” explained
Catherine Sarault, an election official with the Meriden Registrar of Voters. “What really matters is whether people come out to vote.”
Voters told NBC Connecticut they believe it is people’s duty to show up at the polls.
“It’s not something a lot of people can do in other places, so we have this privilege and we really need to take advantage of it,” said Jessica Thomas of Meriden.
“When the time comes for things to happen and it don’t go the way that you want, you can’t blame no one,” said Lorraine Larkin of Waterbury.
The deadline to register in-person, online or by mail is October 30.
To access the state voter registration lookup, click here.
To register to vote, click here.